Can You Freeze Anchovies?

Whether you love them or hate them, anchovies tend to be used sparingly in most recipes, so you may well find yourself with leftovers after opening the jar or can. When you’re storing anchovies in the refrigerator, you need to totally submerge them in oil so they don’t spoil and go to waste. But what about freezing anchovies? Is it safe? Will they be okay when it comes to defrosting? Here’s everything you need to know about freezing anchovies.

The Quick Answer

Can You Freeze Anchovies?

You can freeze anchovies for around 3 months. You will often find that anchovies have been preserved in either oil or salt when they’re shop-bought. This method of preserving food long outdates refrigeration or freezing, but it’s perfectly safe to go with the modern method of freezing!

You can use the links below to jump through this article if you need help with how to go about freezing anchovies, how to defrost them or whether it’s actually worth doing in the first place:

How to Freeze Anchovies

If you’ve bought anchovies that are preserved in olive oil in a jar, you don’t actually need to freeze them. This is because they can stay good when fully submerged in the refrigerator for six to nine months. This is one of the most popular ways of preserving anchovies, as it requires little attention. If you’ve bought fresh anchovies, or perhaps anchovies preserved in salt, the following steps tell you exactly how to preserve them in the freezer. 

  1. Prepare a Tupperware Box
    Line a Tupperware box or freezer-safe container with baking parchment. 
  2. Lay out on Baking Parchment
    Remove your anchovies from the tin or can and lay them out on baking parchment. Remove any excess salt or oil, but you don’t need to wash them. Lay them out, so they’re not touching. 
  3. Cover and Freeze
    Put the lid on your container and transfer it to the freezer. When they are frozen solid, remove the container from the freezer. 
  4. Transfer to a Freezer-Safe Bag
    To save space in your freezer, you can now transfer the anchovies to a freezer-safe bag. It’s a good idea to double wrap the bag, as the odour from the anchovies can affect other foods you have in the freezer. 
  5. Label and Freeze
    The final step is to label the freezer bag with the use-by date and place them inside the freezer. They should be good for three months after being frozen.

3 Tips for Freezing Anchovies

Now you know how to freeze them, we’ve got our 3 top tips which we strongly recommend following when freezing anchovies to have the best results:

  • Keep in the Fridge Instead – Anchovies are commonly preserved in salt or oil. If you’re buying anchovies from the store, you can buy a jar that is pre-preserved in oil. Once opened, you can then place them in the refrigerator for six to nine months. Just be aware that the oil will congeal in the fridge.
  • Use From Frozen – You can prepare your anchovies straight from frozen. This makes it really easy to add them to your favourite dishes, as you can remove them from the freezer and chop them straight up from frozen. You don’t have to worry about removing them from the salt or oil, a process that can be messy and time-consuming. 
  • Wrap Multiple Times – When you’re freezing any type of fish, it’s important to seal it tightly and double wrap it where possible. When freezing, anchovies give off an extremely pungent odour and can affect other foods in your freezer. So, unless you want your ice cream to taste like fish, it’s best to wrap your anchovies tightly! 

How Long Can You Freeze Anchovies?

You can freeze anchovies for around 3 months. 

As you can see, you can actually preserve anchovies for longer than that in the refrigerator when they’re stored in olive oil. While this is certainly a good option available to you, you should bear in mind the associated hassle. 

Freezing them ensures the flavour is perfectly preserved and saves you from having to dig the anchovies out of congealed oil when you’re ready to use them. 

You Can Freeze Anchovies for up to 3 Months

How Do You Defrost Anchovies?

You should defrost anchovies by removing them from the freezer and placing them into the refrigerator the night before. However, if the dish you’re preparing requires anchovies to be chopped, it’s a good idea to chop them when they’re frozen. Either way, after spending a night in the refrigerator, they will have thawed and will be ready to enjoy in any way that you see fit.

Can You Refreeze Anchovies?

Although it’s safe to do so, it’s best not to refreeze anchovies once they’ve been thawed. You will find that the fish will become mushy, and the texture will deteriorate after they’ve been thawed for the first time. As such, you should be careful only to remove the anchovies that you need from the freezer, so you don’t risk wasting them.

Do Anchovies Freeze Well?

Anchovies freeze extremely well, and when you’re ready to eat them, you will enjoy them as if they’re fresh. Freezing is perhaps the best way to preserve anchovies, as you don’t have to worry about removing them from congealed oil or washing away excess salt. Just make sure you freeze them individually first, so they don’t stick together in the freezer! 

Related FAQs

If you’ve still got questions about freezing anchovies or anchovies in general, then these may help:

Can You Freeze Anchovy Butter?

Flavoured butter is a great way to store a range of items from herbs and spices all the way through to anchovies. But can you freeze anchovy butter? You certainly can! Roll the flavoured butter into a sausage shape, wrap in clingfilm and freeze. When you want a slice, remove the log from the freezer and use a serrated knife to cut a ring and use it directly from frozen.

Can You Freeze Marinated Anchovies?

If anchovies are submerged in a marinade, then chances are they will keep well in the fridge and may not need to be frozen. When you freeze anchovies in oil, the oil will congeal, so it would be better to drain them before freezing. 

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